The Bible's Main Theme Love
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13; 1 John 4:7-21
- supplemental scriptures
The students will be able to explain that God's love is shown throughout the Bible: from His promise of the Messiah, to the birth of Jesus, to the promise of Jesus' soon return. They can describe ways that those who love Him can share His love with others.
- memory verse
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God. — 1 John 4:7
- bible lesson outline
Introduction: On a large piece of construction paper or posterboard, write large outline letters spelling LOVE. Bring a set of colored marking pens to class. Let your students use the pens to write inside the letters the names of people they love. While they do this, explain that the main theme of the Bible is love.
- Paul enumerated the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13 and emphasized our need of this spiritual gift.
- God sent Jesus to die for our salvation, and since He loved us so much we should love one another.
- If we truly love God we will have no fear of the Day of Judgment.
Climax: Throughout the ages God has shown His love to man by promising and providing a Savior and eternal life.
Conclusion: God showed His love for us by giving His Son. We show our love for Him and others through the greatest of Christian graces, charity (or love).
Response: The students can explain that God's love is revealed throughout the Bible from the promise of the Messiah, through the birth of Jesus, to the promise of Jesus' soon return. They can tell that those who truly love the Lord will show it by their lives and their love for others.
- background information
The Bible is a beautiful expression of God's love to man. In the process of creation when God created the vegetation, He saw that it was good (Genesis 1:12). But God went to extra effort to make a place for man to live. He planted a special Garden for him. Had Adam remained faithful to God, he could very well be living in that Garden today. We know the story of the fall of man and that because of sin Adam was driven from the Garden and the earth was put under a curse (Genesis 3:17). Even as God was punishing Adam and Eve, He dropped a hint of the coming Redeemer (Genesis 3:15).
Some centuries later God saw that wickedness was great in the earth and He determined to destroy both man and beast from the face of the earth. God found one man, Noah, who was righteous and through him God planned for mankind a way of escape from the coming destruction. We are told Noah was a preacher of righteousness and had any others repented of their evil ways, God would have provided a way of escape for them as well.
There are many prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling the coming of Christ who was God's supreme expression of love to this world. Through Christ's death and resurrection a way was made to restore man to fellowship with God. When the love of God enters the heart of man it will also generate in that heart a love for his fellow man.
- in-class activities
- Give each child a sheet of the Jesus Loves You coupons (see Patterns). Use a lightweight paper on which to copy the coupons. Let the children cut them apart and staple them together to make a coupon book. Show them how to crease the paper on the dotted lines so the coupons will be easy to tear from the book. Tell them to think of someone with whom they would like to share God's love. They should then fill out a coupon for that person and give it to him. It doesn't have to be a fellow student, but it can be.
- Set up a treasure hunt for your class. Prepare several red hearts and write or glue a picture on each one of some way to show God's love to others. Put all these hearts together in a box and hide it somewhere in your classroom. Next, cut out seven or eight pink hearts. On these, write the clues for finding the box of red hearts. The clues could read something like: "On this day you'd better take care, There could be a clue hiding under your chair." Then, "Looking for clues need not be a chore, You might find something as near as the door." One clue should lead the children to another. You read the first clue and let the children take turns reading the others as they are located. When the box of red hearts is finally found, show the hearts one at a time and discuss how they illustrate ways to show God's love to others.
- Prepare a game board so the children can play the Share God's Love With Others! game (see Patterns). There will be two pages for this pattern but they need to be run onto one larger sheet of heavy paper to make the complete playing board. The children may use buttons for marker pieces. Make a set of eighteen 2" x 3" cards cut from tagboard or construction paper. Number them 1, 2, and 3, alternately. Shuffle the cards and place them upside down in the center of the game board. Each child, in turn, draws one card from the top of the pile and moves his button marker the number of spaces on the game board indicated on his card. If he lands on an activity space, he should do what the instructions suggest. If he lands on a space depicting a child, help him identity the nationality and say, "Jesus loves the Children in (China)."
- How do you know that God loves you?
- How will others know that you love Jesus?
- What are some ways you can show people that you love them other than just saying, "I love you"?
- Is it always easy to love someone? Why?
- How can Jesus help us love someone who has hurt us?
- How many chances do we give someone to love us in return before we quit loving them?
- What does "Christian love" mean? Talk about ways that Jesus showed His love.
- Who deserves to be loved?
- How do you feel inside when you have Christian love for everyone? How do you feel when you have hate in your heart?
- Did Jesus love even those that put Him on the Cross?
- Talk about how He loved and forgave them.
- How can we best show our love for Jesus? Parents?
- Friends? What about enemies?
- pre-school suggestions
- Do an easy little finger play about God's Word (see Patterns).
- Give each child a red heart, on which you have drawn a smiley face, to hold up as he tells of some way he can share Jesus' love with others.
- Make a Jesus' Love wheel for each of your children (see Patterns). Show them how to turn the wheel and then explain what each picture represents concerning the story of Jesus.
- Make some "Love" fortune cookies for your class. Cut out several 2" x 1/2" strips of paper. On each strip write out a verse about love. Fold them in half and set aside until needed. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease two cookie sheets. In a large bowl, combine the whites of 4 eggs with 1 2/3 cups of sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Melt 1 cup of butter and cool slightly. Add the melted butter, 1 cup of flour, and 1 teaspoon almond extract to the sugar mixture. Mix together with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 4 inches apart, onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Remove cookie sheets from oven and place on a wire rack. Put a love verse on one half of each cookie and fold each cookie in half (you'll need to work quickly at this point). Drape the warm cookies, on their folded side, over the edge of a bowl until they are cool. Let each child choose one and share the verse (you can read it for him) with the rest of the class.
- review ideas
From construction paper cut out pieces shaped like Bibles. On one side of each Bible shape write a question about a lesson from this unit. Pin the Bibles on a board, question side down. Let a child pick a Bible and answer the question. Little prizes could be given for answering the questions correctly.
With a marker, write the word LOVE on a large piece of paper. Give your students pieces of paper and ask them to write down various ways you can show your love to someone such as being kind or forgiving. Then ask for examples of ways to show kindness, etc. Write these on the large piece of paper around the word LOVE. What are some ways God shows His love to us?
Draw an S-shaped path on a large sheet of posterboard. Write the word GENESIS at the beginning and the word REVELATION at the end. Use this to represent your travels throughout the Bible. Cut out several hearts and on each one write the title or draw a picture of a story from the Bible which shows God's love. For example: Creation, The Ark, Rainbow, Commandments, Manger, Cross. Arrange these in Biblical order and put them on the pathway, one at a time, as you tell them of God's love shown all through the Bible.